Alliance for Quality Career Pathways

Shared Vision, Strong Systems: The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Framework Version 1.0

The Alliance, or AQCP, is a partner-driven, CLASP-led initiative funded by the Joyce Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Greater Twin Cities United Way. The Alliance’s goal is to help state and local/regional partnerships strengthen their career pathway systems. In 2012, CLASP invited ten leading career pathway states—Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin— and their local/regional partners to join Phase I of the Alliance (2012-2014). CLASP and the Alliance partners jointly developed and provided consensus support for the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Framework 1.0, which establishes a common understanding of quality career pathways and systems.

The Alliance framework provides a clear set of criteria and indicators for what constitutes a quality state and local/regional career pathway system, as well as metrics to assess participant progress and success. The framework is designed to help career pathway partners continuously improve their systems. It also can serve as a collaborative, comprehensive strategy for policymakers and funders to align and enhance their investments, technical assistance, and guidance for building, scaling, and sustaining career pathway systems. In Phase II (2014-2015), the Alliance will focus on implementing the framework and sharing lessons with the field.

Below you can find the framework and its companion tools including: an executive summary, brief overviews for how funders, leaders involved in or exploring career pathways, and practitioners can use the framework, and self-assessment tools.

Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Framework and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
View a side-by-side analysis of WIOA’s career pathway language and the Alliance definition. Then see how WIOA performance measures stack up with the Alliance career pathway participant metrics.

Career Pathways Explained: A Multimedia Overview
Download PowerPoint Version

This explainer provides an overview of the key features and functions of career pathways and describes the growing support for the career pathway approach that helps individuals with limited skills access and succeed in education and training leading to employment in occupations and industries that are in high demand.

The explainer can be a good starting place for career pathway unified and/or combined planning teams consolidating a shared career pathway vision and strategy. The PowerPoint version is customizable for use.

The Framework

Shared Vision, Strong Systems: The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Framework Version 1.0

NEW! 2 page Executive Summary
An Alliance for Quality Career Pathways/WIOA career pathways summary document for stakeholders to bring to their state and local career pathway planning conversations.

Executive Summary

Executive Summary – for booklet printing

Reference Report

Dropdown menu of the Alliance Framework by section


How Can You Use the Framework?

Public and Private Career Pathway Funders

Agency and Organization Leaders Involved in or Exploring Career Pathways


Self-Assessment and Career Pathway Metrics Tools

In Phase II of the Alliance, through 2015, state and local/regional partnerships will use these tools to self-assess their systems and the participant metrics to measure success. The tools are designed to help career pathway partnerships assess progress toward developing strong and effective career pathway systems. CLASP will draw from the completed self-assessments and the Alliance partners’ metrics work to share lessons and learnings with the field through a series of policy briefs.

Request the AQCP self-assessment tools. 

What Alliance Partners are saying about Shared Vision, Strong Systems

“Minnesota’s career pathway programs have helped over a thousand individuals from diverse backgrounds find the skills they need to begin building lifelong careers. While we’ve had great success with this innovative approach, the AQCP framework will provide key performance indicators for system partners and a roadmap for continuous improvement efforts.”

Katie Clark Sieben, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner

“Our nation’s economic future is tied to adult education.  We need innovative programs that clearly and directly lead students into college and careers as quickly as possible. And, we need to measure our success. The AQCP Framework is just what the doctor ordered.”

Jon Kerr, Adult Basic Education Director, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

“The AQCP framework will help guide the discussions around adult career pathways in Illinois.  These metrics and measures will provide a common ground for discussions on transitioning adult learners to postsecondary career and technical education programs and pathway employment.”

Jennifer K. Foster, Associate Vice President for Adult Education and Workforce Development, State GED Administrator, Illinois Community College Board

“The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways initiative is ‘translational’ between current research on career pathways and the policy change that is essential to system quality, scale, and sustainability.”

Debra D. Bragg, Edward William Gutgsell and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor, Director, Office of Community College Research and Leadership, Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

AQCP Phase II Orientation Webinar November 5, 2014Webinar slides

AQCP webinar to Transformative Change Initiative September 12, 2014
Webinar slides

National Dialogue on Career Pathways recording
On September 23, 2014, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services hosted a National Dialogue on Career Pathways. This event brought national attention to the critical role career pathways systems play in creating a strong economy where workers can gain the skills needed for good jobs and employers can hire workers with the skills they need. The National Dialogue on Career Pathways highlighted best practices while issuing a clear and measurable call to action to get more states and local areas involved in this work. CLASP’s Vickie Choitz and Judy Mortrude presented on panels at the event.

Contact Us

For more information about AQCP, please contact our CLASP project staff.

Judy Mortrude
Project Director